BY SMELLY MUSTAFA
In the mid 1980’s I was in one of the strangest situations ever known to touring. I was a straightedge maniac with long hair who loved to upset the straightedge crowds. I had been in several bands by this time, many of them lost to beer and drugs. But this fermentation of a band was one beyond explanation. Surrounded by two crazy brothers and an Ex-Military man. All of these guys were skinheads. Redneck, beer-drinking, chaw-spit’n fools. They loved horror movies and hunting. We had played many shows and toured many times by this late date of 1986. I always drove, because these creeps were always drunk! But this one combat-assignment van trip reminds me about how I was introduced to terror.
I had released a record for a band in Ohio. So we made many of short trips to the great “Kent” state to play hardcore, horror music. On this trip we had brought 56 pounds of deer carcass and a cooler full of beer. Straight down I-69 to the Toll way interstate 80. It was a six hour trip, in a van fueled by beer. Remember I said I was straightedge. Because if I wasn’t, then nothing would have happened in those days.
After a three hour cruise the band wanted to stop and stretch out. I’d prefer to drive straight and arrive on time. Well the singer was one ornery motherfucker. He wanted out now. I never stopped. The Toll way was full of cops & rest stops were few and far between. His little brother just decided that he would piss on top of the equipment. So he did! The Ex-Military man pissed in a bottle and never complained. But the crazy lead singer insisted on pulling over. I finally gave way to his call and pulled over. Just as he was about to open the door an Ohio state trooper pulled up and said over his loud speaker “Remain in the vehicle.” Well, the man was uptight, the singer was drunk, the van was full of beer, and it smelled like rotten meat. After looking over my registration and driver’s license, he asked why we were stopping. I lied and told him I was having engine trouble. He suggested we pull off at the next exit. The state trooper let us go and we continued on our way to “Kent” state Ohio.
After this scare the singer was floating in piss. He demanded that I stop again. There were no rest stops and I wasn’t going to be hassled again by the cops. At this point the singer lost control and cold cocked me square in the right ear. All I remember was that I thought I was shot, the sky turned black and the motion of the van was unstable.
I woke up a few minutes later and I was in the back of the van. After my eyes adjusted, I could see the equipment was turned upside down. The whole fucking van was upside down. I crawled out the passenger window and looked around. The singer was pissing in the bushes, the other two were asking if I was alright. The van was crushed, upside down the windows were either broken out completely or cracked. The roof was caved in and the rear bumper was torn at a 45-degree angle. I realized we had just destroyed the van, the gear and the gig. The singer came back and said “I told you I had to piss!”
A four-wheel-drive truck pulled up, with one scary looking fucker in it. He told me for twenty bucks he’d pull the van onto it’s wheels and out of the ditch. I was thinking sure, why not? The engine was still running. If we could get the fuck out of here before the cops showed up we wouldn’t get any tickets or hassles. The man turns off the van, hooks a chain to the rear axle, wenches the van onto its wheels. The entire roof was caved in. The equipment turned over inside once again, and the rear windows and door windows were broken. The rest of the windows were cracked severely. The deer carcass had been squashed against the drum set. My head was still pounding from the punch or what ever happened in the crash. Who knows how many times the van turned over? We were lucky that no one was injured! I paid the man twenty bucks, brushed the glass off the drivers seat, started the van and we loaded in.
Now the van was running down the highway again. Frame bent, bumper bent, roof crushed, and windows missing. We made it to the show, played at J.B.’s down stairs, played like it was the last show we would ever play and got paid 18 dollars. Slept the night at Boom’s house, ate at Jerry’s diner and headed back to Michigan the next day.
Well that was the last trip that 1969 Ford van ever made. I traded it to a junkyard for a 1967 Valiant two door that was rusted. If you think you had it bad, because you missed a show or because there wasn’t any meal back stage, then you should have been in that van. I’ve yet to see another band as eager as these guys. But when I decided to move to California, the rest of them stayed in Michigan. Hard telling what kind of terror these guys would have put San Francisco through.
PICTURED ABOVE: (Top to Bottom) Boom and Smelly, back in the day; Artwork from Boom and Legion of Doom album.